As you may have heard, UBS has been going through a bit of a rough patch. Despite posting an annual profit (of 7.2 billion Swiss francs) for the first time since 2006, things just haven't been the same since the crisis, and some are suggesting it never will be, writing that the bank "doesn't have a chance" getting back to pre-crisis levels because "too much damage has been done." Not helping things is the fact that there's been very high turnover in the last couple months, which may have something to do with the fact that people have a need to get paid.
The last two months have seen a large turnover of staff and an overhaul of management at the top. In the last month alone, a new global head of securities, the co-head of fixed-income, currencies and commodities, and a top deal maker in Asia, traditionally a strong region for UBS, have all left. At the same time, the bank has announced new leadership for the crucial M&A business and new chiefs for investment banking for the Americas, Asia and Europe, among other changes. Just this week, UBS lost the head of its prime brokerage unit in Asia, as well as the co-head of its Asian industrials banking team.
UBS is struggling to pay enough to keep top talent as it works on the revamp, say headhunters and former UBS bankers, with some senior bankers not having received a bonus in several years. And while UBS paid dearly to attract a few heavy hitters, overall pay is too low to keep staff from jumping ship, they say. In February, the bank delayed by a week the announcement of bonuses while it reworked its plan to try to prevent bankers from leaving.
Not saying no one at UBS will ever get paid again but in order to account for a worst case scenario, let's just say that. Any ideas how management can entice people not to quit/take a gig with them? As the Swiss are getting desperate, you could probably suggest just about anything and they might give it a shot. What if they could guarantee a guy pulling up to the Stamford office in a white Civic and demanding to speak to "the President" while brandishing a baseball bat at least once a week? Would that be something you'd be interested in? (It'd probably do it for me.)